Wednesday, August 17, 2005

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Observe in the parable the Master of the Vineyard did but one thing. He told his servant to "call the labourers and give them their hire." He did but ask what they had done. He did not ask what their opinion was about science, or about art, or about the means of wealth, or about public affairs; he did not ask them if they knew the nature of the vine for which they had been labouring. They were not required to know how many kinds of vines there were in the world, and what countries vines could grow in, and where they could not. They were not called upon to give their opinion what soils were best for the vines. They were not examined in the minerals, or the shrubs, or in anything else which was found in the vineyard, but this was the sole question, whether they had worked in the vineyard. First they must be in the vineyard, then they must work in it; these were the two things. So will it be with us after death. When we into God's presence, we shall be asked two things, whether we were in the Church, and whether we worked in the Church. Everything else is worthless. Whether we have been rich or poor, whether we have been learned or unlearned, whether we have been prosperous or afflicted, whether we have been sick or well, whether we have had a good name or a bad one, all this will be far from the work of that day. The single question will be, are we Catholics and are we good Catholics ? If we have not been, it will avail nothing that we have been ever so honoured here, ever so successful, have had ever so good a name. And if we have been, it will matter nothing though we have been ever so despised, ever so poor, ever so hardly pressed, ever so troubled, ever so unfriended. Christ will make up everything to us, if we have been faithful to Him; and He will take everything away from us, if we have lived to the world.


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